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Can a biblically‑based government (including the civil sphere) operate within the conceptual framework of pluralism? While it depends on the definition of pluralism, let me say that the modern concept of pluralism is one of the most pernicious inventions of the twentieth century designed to eliminate the Christian religion. All sorts of evil acts are done in the name of “pluralism.” Homosexuality, abortion, and transgenderism, for example, are defended and supported based on the pliable doctrine of pluralism: Different strokes for different folks until those calling for pluralism gain control of the narrative and reins of power and deny access to anyone who offers anything different.

The most recent expression of this truth has found its way into this year’s March Madness basketball tournament. Oral Roberts University (4000 students) made it to the Sweet Sixteen having beaten Ohio State (66,000 students) and the University of Florida (52,000 students). ORU was attacked by Hemal Jhaveri, the “race and inclusion editor” at USA Today. She wrote that ORU’s “deeply bigoted anti-LGBTQ+ polices can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.” She wants the NCAA to ban the school. “Jhaveri rages that ‘the school is a hotbed of institutional transphobia, homophobia with regressive, sexist policies. There is no way to separate their men’s basketball team from the dangers of their religious dogma, no matter how many top seeds they defeat.’” (Source)

Jhaveri was later fired from USA Today “after mistakenly,” and I would add maliciously, “tweeting that the Boulder supermarket shooter was another ‘angry white man’” when he was a Syria-born Muslim.

Then there’s this:

[A] recent Wall Street Journal op-ed by Joshua Swamidass, a computational biologist who believes that colleges and universities that include “creation science” (undefined) in their curriculum should be blacklisted by the educational and scientific community and potentially lose their accreditation. He argues that only science courses that adhere to “national norms” (also undefined) should count for credit toward science degrees. It’s clear from the context that one workable definition of national norms is “what Darwinists believe.” (Source)

Let’s be reminded of what Darwinists believe. The following is from atheist and Darwinist Richard Dawkins:

In the universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.

Consider the ethical, social, and political ramifications of applying such a Darwinian view.


How did we get in this situation? We opened the door to the claim that Christians should be pluralists, acknowledging that at one level all worldviews should be tolerated in the spirit of mutual respect, neutrality, diversity, and inclusion. Everyone should have a seat at the table. Too many Christian institutions fell for the scheme, and they wonder why they’re being attacked. Many think that if they offer a few accommodations that they will be tolerated and be left alone. Don’t you believe it!

Pluralism makes all opinions equal except for any opinion that claims not all opinions are equal. This means, for example, that doctors who protect the unborn through heroic measures and advanced technology are no more ethical and deserving of praise than doctors who perform abortions or who deliberately snuff out the life of a terminally ill patient. Let me quote R. C. Sproul, a highly respected Bible teacher and Christian social theorist:

Some time ago I spoke at a meeting of religious leaders and I told them, “If anybody comes to you and tries to sell you on the virtues of pluralism as a basis for church renewal, run for your life. Pluralism, as a philosophical idea, is the very antithesis of Christianity. No church can survive for long in that kind of chaos.”[1]

Now, someone could make the case that Sproul was only talking about religious pluralism. But aren’t moral and political pluralism the result of competing religious positions? Sproul goes on to imply this. First, he talks about schools, abortion, and Statism. He equates pluralism with relativism:

The rapid growth of the centralized state is happening before our eyes in the United States. Consider the areas in which the state functions today where it did not function thirty years ago. Consider the areas where the people of America formerly looked to God for their security, their meaning, and their decision making and now, instead, they look to the state. This eventually becomes statism, where the state becomes the goal of life. The state becomes the reason for us to live. The state unifies, transcends, becomes absolute, and is eternal.[2]

Sproul blames this on “pluralism.” Pluralism “is the result of the loss of transcendent unity. The God whom we worship is a God who brings unity, but at the same time preserves diversity.”[3]

The State is not neutral. Some religion acts as the driving force of its policies. The non-neutral State will work until every competing religious system is eliminated.

Under the doctrine of pure pluralism—to which many secularists say they subscribe—all lifestyles are permitted. Thus, in the end, cannibalism, human sacrifice, group suicide, the Manson Family, polygamy, and kiddie porn would have to be allowed. “Who are we to say what is right and what is wrong?” is the common refrain. Clearly, society cannot long survive if this principle is pushed to its logical conclusion and everyone is free to write his own laws. Thus, we subscribe to pluralism within certain limits. We allow a wide range of behavior, even though we don’t always approve of it. But we do not permit all behavior. We do not even allow all so-called “victimless” behavior—such as prostitution, drug addiction, drunkenness, and the like. The reason we don’t is that our laws presuppose certain truths. Pure freedom of conscience, then, can never really be tolerated. Government neutrality on matters of religion and morals is a modern myth. We can never escape the question: Whose faith, whose values, whose God undergirds the civil laws of a nation?[4]

In his book Our Culture, What’s Left of It, Theodore Dalrymple makes the following point: “The idea that freedom is merely the ability to act upon one’s whims is surely very thin and hardly begins to capture the complexities of human existence; a man whose appetite is his law strikes us not as liberated but enslaved.”[5]

Pluralism was used to get the non-pluralist agenda’s foot in the door. It’s an old tactic that began on university campuses in the 1960s at the University of Californian in Berkeley in what has become known as the Free Speech Movement. The Leftists demanded free speech, and once they got it, over time they denied free speech to people with whom they disagreed. Today’s universities are all the evidence one needs to know that this is true. It seems that conservatives never understood this tactic of the Left. Working with the opposition was the program hoping that their goodwill would translate into respectful dialog and compromise on important issues. It never happened, and it will never happen.

Author: Gary DeMar

Gary—who served as President of American Vision for thirty-five years—is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. Author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, he has been featured by nearly every major news media outlet. Gary also has hosted The Gary DeMar Show, History Unwrapped, and the Gary DeMar’s Vantage Point Webshow and is a regular contributor to AmericanVision.org. Gary has lived in the Atlanta area since 1979 with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and are enjoying being grandparents. Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).